Thursday, September 03, 2009

Eagan Adds Blue Traffic Light To Intersections

Red, yellow, green, and blue? Some drivers may take another look at some intersections in Eagan MN. The new blue light is a tool aimed at helping to better patrol three intersections along Pilot Knob Road, according to police. Police say from 2003 to 2007, they had nearly 300 accidents along the roadway, with 11 percent of them stemming from drivers disobeying a traffic light. Here's how it works: When the blue light shines, the left turn light at the intersection is red. Officers can them monitor whether a car turn on the blue light is safer than to pull over a red light runner. City and county money helped pay for the three lights, which cost several thousand dollars each. "This is just another piece in the tool box that we can look at," said Eagan Police Chief James McDonald.City officials also talked to Burnsville and Apple Valley, who have already used the blue light, and say they work. While it seems like the point would be not to have drivers know about the blue lights, the city says they actually want to make it well known. They believe if drivers realize officers have this tool, they will obey the red instead of risking paying a $130 ticket. "If one property damage collision is prevented by these blue lights and people respect the red lights, it's paid for itself as already," said the city's transportation engineer Tim Plath. Chief McDonald says a lot of people have confused this program with the illegal Photocop program in this case there's an actual officer patrolling, not just a camera.